Travel and tourism sector to break all records in 2024: WTTC

Record USD 11 trillion global GDP impact & all-time high 348 million jobs
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Travel and tourism sector to break all records in 2024: WTTC

Tourists are back in record numbers across all key destinations, says WTTC

Global travel and tourism sector is set to reach new heights on all key parameters this year with record-high economic impact and highest-ever employment, pushing clear ahead of 2019 peaks, says WTTC.
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The year 2024 will be a record-breaking year for the global travel and tourism sector, says a study published by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), a global association of the industry.

In a press statement that details the findings of its 2024 Economic Impact Research, WTTC says that travel and tourism sector will make a global economic contribution of USD 11.1 trillion, an all-time high. The study adds that the travel and tourism sector will contribute an additional USD 770 billion over its previous record, stamping its authority as a global economic powerhouse, generating 10 pc of all revenues worldwide.

As the global sector soars past its pre-pandemic prosperity, WTTC says that it expects 142 countries of 185 analysed will outperform previous national records. WTTC’s latest EIR, prepared in partnership with Oxford Economic, showcases a sector briming with opportunities, underpinning almost 348 million jobs globally. This represents an increase of more than 13.6 million jobs compared to its highest point in 2019.

International visitor spending is expected to come within touching distance of the 2019 peak, to reach USD 1.89 trillion, while domestic tourists are forecast to spend more than in any year on record to hit USD 5.4 trillion.

Better than expected performance in 2023

Despite economic uncertainties and geopolitical shake-ups, the travel and tourism sector is thriving, says WTTC, adding that with an economic injection of nearly USD 10 trillion, the sector matched its pre-pandemic zenith, flexing its resilience and proving its critical role in the global economy.

The statement adds that representing 9.1 pc of global GDP at just over USD 9.9 trillion in 2023, travel and tourism’s financial footprint was the largest it has been since the golden year of travel in 2019, trailing its peak by a mere 4 pc. The sector also bolstered its workforce by an additional 27.4 million, propelling the total to nearly 330 million jobs worldwide.

International spending increased by 33.1 pc to reach USD 1.63 trillion, underscoring a vibrant comeback story for many countries around the world, with domestic spending increasing by more than 18 pc to reach almost USD 5 trillion. The WTTC says that 2023 set the stage, demonstrating the unwavering passion for travel, paving the way for a record-breaking year in 2024.

This growth comes despite two of the world’s biggest tourism markets lagging in terms of international visitor spend, with both the United States and China seeing a far slower return of international tourist spend. Last year in the US, international visitor spending remained more than a quarter below the peak of 2019, while China’s visitor spend remained almost 60 pc down.

“Against the backdrop of uncertainty, the travel and tourism sector remains a global economic powerhouse. This isn’t just about breaking records, we are no longer talker about a recovery, this is a story of the sector back at its best after a difficult few years, providing a significant economic boost to countries around the world and supporting millions of jobs,’’ says Julia Simpson, President & CEO, WTTC.

“There’s a risk however, we need the US and Chinese governments to support their national travel and tourism sectors. The US and China will continue to suffer whilst other countries are seeing international visitors return much faster,” adds Simpson.

Economic impact to reach USD 16 trillion by 2023

Looking ahead, WTTC has forecast a promising future for the next decade, characterised by robust growth and unparalleled career opportunities.

By 2034, WTTC says, the sector will supercharge the global economy with USD 16 trillion, making up 11.4 pc of the entire economic landscape. This booming industry is also set to be a job creation juggernaut, providing employment for 449 million people worldwide. Nearly 12.2 pc of the workforce will be powering this vibrant sector, showcasing Travel & Tourism’s pivotal role in global employment, it adds.

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